Woman…still 20 cents shy of equality

By- Clay de Souza

It is amazing in 2014 that women are still relegated to 1964 standards, women are still fighting for equal rights in the year 2014. Just 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act that included progress on Women’s Rights, Women still make just approximately $.80 on the dollar compared to their male colleagues and co-workers on the job. That’s surprising after the fact one would think that by now women of all races and ethnicities would not by now at least surpass men, especially given that just one year prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the same Congress had passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibited wage differentials based on sex and subsequently the 2009 Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by President Obama which was an Act to amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in 2013, published “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” a bold call to action for women in the workforce to assert themselves and assume their rightful place at the top of the hierarchy. In “Lean In: For Graduates,” Sandberg extends that challenge to women just entering the job market to aim high, be confident and feel empowered in spite of rampant discrimination. She has called for more diversity and women in the fields of technology where both women and minorities make up a small piece of the pie combined. Twitter joined the growing ranks of major tech companies that are publishing data on diversity within their workforce. It released the gender and ethnicity breakdown of its employees about a week ago, and, unsurprisingly, they’re predominantly white and male. Overall, men make up 70 percent of roles at the company; 59 percent of Twitter’s employees are white, and the bulk of the others (29 percent) are Asian. “Like our peers,” Twitter notes, “we have a lot of work to do.”

Both the ethnicity and gender figures at Twitter are all quite similar to those that we’ve seen from Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. Once again, black and Hispanic employees only make up a small percentage of the overall workforce, at 2 and 3 percent respectively. And in leadership roles, white employees represent an even larger bulk of the roles, 72 percent of them. The gender differential is even greater for leadership as well, with women only holding 21 percent of those positions. And the gender difference is even more striking when it comes to the division in tech-related jobs, which women hold just 10 percent of.

To quote Ms. Sandberg from her recent book “Lean in”:

“When I graduated, I believed that the feminists who came before me had done the hard work of demanding equality and now it was ours for the taking. In my early jobs, my peers were a balanced mix of men and women. But with each passing year, there were fewer and fewer women in the room until I was often the only one. Slowly— and sadly— it dawned on me that the promise of equality is not the same as achieving equality.
While we have far more opportunity than our mothers and grandmothers, there are still biases that work against us. It can be painful to acknowledge that our experience as individuals is inescapably linked to our gender. We long for a true meritocracy, where we are judged on our abilities alone. But the world has a way of attaching the word “female” to our achievements: “female surgeon,” “female director,” “female marathoner,” “female senator.”

She added,” …..you should be aware that men are often promoted based on potential, while women are promoted on past performance. You should also be aware that when men are successful, they are often better liked by both men and women, but when women are successful, they are liked less. I have asked audiences around the world to raise their hands if they’ve been told they were too aggressive at work. Time and again, a small fraction of men raise their hands, while a great majority of women shoot a hand into the air . . . and sometimes two.”

The moral reality is that women are more than equal to men society. In a fair society, Women actually should be making more than men in many fields. Woman are actually, as of late, more smarter and educated than man. A 2013 study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that men’s and women’s brains tend to be wired very differently. An average woman’s brain, that study revealed, has more connections between hemispheres, while a man’s noggin has more connections within hemispheres. The study researchers speculated that this may make the male brain better at motor skills and the female brain better at combining analytical and intuitive thinking.

A Yale report indicated that Women now outnumber men in global university attendance and graduation rates. Most gains are in developed nations; in some countries, as many as two thirds of graduates are women, though discrimination still lingers. Globally, the ratio is 93 men to 100 women; men tend to concentrate in engineering and the sciences while women gravitate toward less lucrative degrees in humanities and arts. Women are paid less for their work often because of time off for child or elder care. The growing gender divide in education poses challenges that we must tackle because it is not only a Civil right but a moral one.

Picture- Alex Eflon